Movie Review: The Grey

TheGrey

Details from IMDB:

 

The Grey (2011)

Ratings: 6.9/10 from 110,719 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 612 user | 346 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.

Director:

Joe Carnahan

Writers:

Joe Carnahan (screenplay), Ian Mackenzie Jeffers(screenplay), and 1 more credit »

Stars:

Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney and Frank Grillo | See full cast and crew

Initial thoughts:

Ah Liam Neeson, he’s been Qui-Gon Jinn (from Star Wars), Oskar Shindler, Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman) and even Aslan (from Narina). He is a terrific actor but he seems to be the type who isn’t picky enough with his roles. Anyway this was on Fiber Optic the other night so I watched it. I do love survival movies and this certainly is one of them.

Main Points:

This time Liam plays Ottway, an expert hunter of wolves and marksman who works with a work camp in Alaska. He is moody, depressed and thinks often about his wife (we’re never really sure if she left him or died).

In fact in an early scene Ottway leaves a bar and goes out in the woods, he puts the rifle to his mouth but thankfully doesn’t pull the trigger, such is the depths of his depression.

His only point in life it seems is to shoot wolves, think about his wife and write her letters. I should say here that I’ve seen a bunch of survival movies and as a consequence I tend to pick apart what the people do. I don’t claim to be any kind of survival excerpt but I’ve looked stuff up and talk with people, so I have an idea on what works and what doesn’t, I’ll save that for a little later.

SPOILER ALERT!

As soon as they go on the plane I knew it was going to crash, otherwise there wouldn’t be a movie. The unexpected part is how depressing things get! Sad smile As they land in the middle of the wilderness they are continually hunted by wolves.

One by one all of the survivors either die from the elements or from a wolf. Finally it comes down to just Ottway and he stumbles into the wolves den (something he had been trying to avoid most of the movie). While it’s not shown the obvious assumption is that he too dies. So it’s a movie where everyone dies and no one get’s rescued, oh if that wasn’t bleak enough Ottway begs God for help and doesn’t get any.

Final Thoughts:

With all of that said above there is still plenty to like about the movie. There is plenty of action, Nelson (and the other actors) turn in solid performances and I enjoyed the simple, straight-forward plot which does provide some intense moments. It also brings up questions of humanity (and ultimately what gives life meaning) along with how you would react when put in desperate situation.

Oh and a couple of other concerns. So Ottway is this expert hunter yet when the plane crashes and he finds his rifle (the long muzzle is now broken in half) he abandons it! I’m not hunter but if you were in the woods surrounded by wolves I would never give up a rifle. As long as it could shoot at all it has to be of some use. Also later on Ottway is following a river and says to another survivor something like “keep going, there could be a cabin right around the corner”. “Yes” I said talking to the screen “there could!”. Of course that made too much sense and he decides instead to wander into the woods. If you’re lost and you find a river you follow it! It means you have to be heading in one direction and eventually you will either hit a town or the ocean, either way it’s better than the woods.

So in the end I would give this movie a mild recommendation and give it 7/10 Smile. There are some clever references and jokes to other movies that I enjoyed and Neeson does play an interesting (thought ultimately tragic character) well. Until next time (and yes it could very well be another movie review Winking smile) I am as always…

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‘Scam Factory’ Spotlight/Interview/Giveaway

Here is the details for the blog stop for G. Gordon Dean’s ‘Scam Factory’ Blog Tour. First off a spotlight, followed by an interview and then a giveaway, Enjoy and Thanks to Gary for the interview, enjoy! Smile

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SCAM FACTORY started out as a dream I had about a job interview with a high-end consulting firm. I initially thought that my dream would make a great movie, but I decided to write a book instead. As I began to develop the plot and storylines I realized I could tie it all in with, past and current, real life events in the U.S. from 2001-2009. It was also relatively easy to combine some of my business experience, and people I have run across over the years, into this story. I grew up in Las Vegas and lived there for about thirty-five years so knowing about Scams, or coming up with my own for this book, wasn’t so hard. The TRUE events that led to the U.S. financial crash, mass business failures, and declines in property values in late 2007 were nothing but ammunition for this novel.

SCAM FACTORY is not a story about the guy in the white cowboy hat saving the town and riding off into the sunset. It is fiction based on reality with a ‘true to life’ outcome. The characters in this story get away with White-Collar crimes just as the real life participants did. The characters are sadistic and have a knack of getting away with almost everything, just like the in real world. It is as simple as that. One of the messages I wanted to convey in writing this story was to show what kinds of professionals were out there exploiting our businesses and citizens without legal retribution. The characters are mostly cold, calculating, and narcissistic.

I figured that using a first person narrative was the best way to tell the story. There are many subjects involved in this story so I divided SCAM FACTORY into four parts to further make it easier to read and understand. Loyalties are lost and revenge is certainly in the plot, but figuring out how to write about it was the key to the story. There is no mention of any existing, or real life, companies-only industries and fictional business entities. Another challenge was making the fictional writing seem realistic. Several of the initial book reviewers were asking if some of the events in the story actually took place. The answer is probably yes, except that only a hand full of people knows how those events really took place.

The consulting firm in (TierGroup) in this story, that represents the seventeen major industries, is politically neutral. The idea is that if your money is green then TierGroup, and its clients, do not really care what your political affiliation is. This is also very relevant in the real world, but it seems to be changing for the worst. Although SCAM FACTORY contains many dark sides, it strongly reflects a ‘behind the closed door’ characterization of the reality we have faced over the last six years. The lessons we are still learning as a country are obvious and it may take many more years to recover. Control, perception, manipulation, and greed are still the number one driving forces in the business world today, but on the other hand, there are always two sides to a coin. Only time will tell.

Enjoy SCAM FACTORY and become a fan on Facebook.

Scam Factory


G. Gordon Dean’s Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/SCAM-Factory/219147311549998?fref=ts
G. Gordon Dean’s Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6568947.G_Gordon_Dean
Scam Factory Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16120621-scam-factory

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

Scam Factory blog tour site:
http://scamfactory.blogspot.com/

Scam Factory Book Summary:

Whoever said ‘white-collar crime doesn’t pay’ never lived in Washington D.C. TierGroup is a business consultancy firm located in the heart of DC. Its Division Heads have a very cold and calculating unorthodox approach to conducting business. Protecting and serving their clients is the only thing that matters. Nevertheless, loyalty can swing both ways in this journey through greed, corruption, and absolute lack of accountability.
As a former Las Vegas Casino Surveillance Director, Michael Crayter, a straight shooter, becomes an unaware, almost, employee of TierGroup in mid-2001. His transformation takes many shapes from idea man to fraud guru. He embarks on a journey to Iraq, through Hurricane Katrina and eventually takes part in one of the biggest scams in the history of the United States – the TARP funding program. His boss, Charles “The Czar” Zarin, is the ultimate manipulation mentor. Michael Crayter’s experience will last for more than eight years and will make his old Vegas job seem like child’s play.
The investment opportunities the United States has to offer during this timeframe are seemingly endless and the public joins in on the greed. The whole country is riding high on the inflated value train with careless abandonment. There are no regulations followed or laws unbroken by the Mortgage Lenders, Stock Brokers, and Bankers. The bubble is getting bigger and the clock is ticking. It’s every man for himself. Divide and conquer. Borrow and spend. No one sees the tsunami coming, except for Charles Zarin. Capitalism will be turned upside down and the money spigot will run dry.
By late 2007 the bubble bursts and our country’s economy is left in ruins. The Treasury is sent in to bail out the white-collar thieves. While losing most of its clients TierGroup and Michael Crayter are left to fend for themselves. The tables are turned on the fat-cat bankers who caused the meltdown. Michael Crayter uses his hard gained experience to get even with the fake bastards. Almost everyone loyal to TierGroup gets away with highway robbery and the American taxpayer is left holding the bag. Michael Crayter begins to tell his story, in this Four Part first-person narrative, during a 2005 interview at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Bio:

G. Gordon Dean is a Real Estate agent and Business Consultant currently living in Arizona. He has been a media buff for over two decades. As a media buff he has kept himself well aware of past and current events in business, government, and politics. He lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for over 30 years. This is his first novel.
Price/Format: $4.99 ebook
Pages: 263
Release: October 15, 2012

Kindle buy link ($4.99):
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009RP6NU0?tag=tributebooks-20

Nook buy link ($4.99):
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scam-factory-g-gordon-dean/1113508194?ean=2940015503814

Interview:

GARY DEAN RFP PICS 013

Please tell us about your current release.

SCAM FACTORY is a modern day White-Collar Crime Novel that begins in 2001 and continues into 2009. The 4-part story tells about the events that led to the U. S. Financial Crash that started in late 2007. The story’s main character, Michael Crayter, begins a new career, in mid-life, with an ultra-private Washington D.C. Consulting Firm. The Consulting Firm (TierGroup) represents seventeen of the worlds’ largest and most powerful industries who are making tremendous financial gains with no end in sight. SCAM FACTORY is also a story that takes its reader to Iraq, New Orleans, the Caribbean, and other major US cities. I believe I have described the story well in the Back Cover Copy and Prologue.

Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

The journey for writing SCAM FACTORY started with a dream I had one night about interviewing for an executive position at a major Consulting Firm. I landed the job in my dream, but after I woke up, I still had no idea what they did. I thought to myself: That was not a legitimate company, it was a Scam Factory. Then I further thought to myself that it might make an interesting book or even a movie. The war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the U.S. financial crash, which all occurred within the last 12 years, were also a perfect fit for this story.

Can you tell us about the story behind your book cover?

I designed and created the book cover with help of an associate. The title says it all: SCAM FACTORY. There is a silhouette of Washington D.C. in the background on the bottom of the cover, with the Washington Monument broadly standing out almost like a smoke stack from a factory, and sub tittles give the reader added information about the story. The font colors are also mean to stand out. I may add a light watermark of hurricane Katrina in the background later.

What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different?

That is a very good question. I had to do some research on this since SCAM FACTORY is a work of fiction. I only found one white-collar fiction book being sold today to compare it to: “RUDIGER” by David Lender. It had some of the same types of crimes committed in parts of my book. Several modern Nonfiction books, currently on the market, also include many of the same types of crimes that I wrote about. I didn’t have much luck, but it could be that I don’t know where to look. Maybe someone out there will find other comparable books and share them with us.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Over all I can say that writing SCAM FACTORY is the biggest quirk because I only type with two fingers! I was not using the ‘Tab’ key where needed and hit the ‘Hard Return’ key too often, which made more than double the work for editing and formatting. This is my first novel and I am almost surprised that I was able to accomplish the challenging task of writing it.

Typing with two fingers! That blows me away. I admire you persistence, I imagine that would make the actual writing a lot longer as well.

Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.

SCAM FACTORY -PART 3- Chapter 20 –Failure Is An Option:

During a private meeting with the three largest U.S. bank owners Michael Crayter (the CEO of TierGroup) speaks privately with Henry Strassburger (the secret owner of 100 independent banks) against the strong advice of his legal team. Michael knows that now is the time to take advantage of a very lucrative opportunity, find cracks in the system, and manipulate Strassburger. Their ‘mutual’ goal is to keep Strassburgers interest in the 100 independent banks a secret while acquiring the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funding from the US Treasury Department. The amount Strassburgers’ banks need is about $125 million for each bank (or $12.5 billion total). Michael Crayter does not trust Strassburger at all. He senses Strassburger is hiding the 100 banks loses and making false statements about their true financial condition to the government. What Henry Strassburger does not realize is that Michael Crayter does not intend to help him keep the banks from taking major loses or closing…

Do you plan any subsequent books?

I am not sure about that right now. I have two or three other fictional book ideas in mind, but want to see how this one goes. I have been told that SCAM FACTORY would make a great movie, so a movie script may be in the works in the near future.

Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it.

I am not an avid reader, but I am always interested in new documentaries, news, and events that help me stay connected to current events. I watch programs on public television, cable and learning channels, and other major media outlets. I am usually going over Business and Real Estate opportunities being offered by others. Sometimes I am doing the actual business planning, modeling, and research for others, which requires a ton of evaluation, writing, and revisions.

It was a pleasure to have you Gary, best of luck with your book and blog tour.

The Giveaway! Open-mouthed smile

I believe in keeping things simple. So here is super-easy super-simple giveaway. Be the first person to comment on this post (with your name and E-mail address) and you win a free Ebook copy of Scam Factory. How easy is that? Thanks for reading, have a great day all Hot smile

Movie Review: Batman Year One

Details from IMDB:

BatmanYear1

Batman: Year One (Video 2011)

64 min  -  Animation | Action | Crime  -   18 October 2011 (USA)

Ratings: 7.3/10 from 7,592 users
Reviews: 42 user | 32 critic

A wealthy playboy and a Chicago cop both return to Gotham City where their lives will intersect in unexpected ways.

Directors:

Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery

Writers:

Bob Kane (creator: Batman), Tab Murphy, and 2 more credits »

Stars:

Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie and Eliza Dushku | See full cast and crew

Initial Thoughts:

I love Batman, there I said it. I think I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Batman done well is an amazing thing in any incarnation (comics, movies, video games). Thankfully lately Batman has been done very well (at least what I’ve seen). I love the simplicity of his character, someone who has been wronged as a child and dedicates his life to fighting crime and making criminals pay.

I read the graphic novel Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and loved it, when I learned of the animated movie (I’m late in the game I know) I had to watch it. So with Xbox points to spare I finally saw this little gem.

Main Points:

As far as I know the movie follows the comic book almost perfectly. Ben McKenzie does great voice work as the caped crusader and Bryan Cranston is amazing as Jim Gordon and Katee Sackoff does a respectable job in a minor role as Detective Essen.

Seeing this comic book (one of Frank’s best in my opinion) brought to life was a treat. It’s not dragged out and all of Batman (and Jim’s) trials and tribulations are on display for us to see. If you haven’t read the comic, do that first, then see this.

SPOILER ALERT!

Once again nothing really to spoil, Jim starts having an affair but stops and learns the identity of Batman (technically he’s not 100% sure but he is fairly certain). Batman does not have his batmobile (or batwing) and the Joker is only just mentioned at the end.

Final Thoughts:

This is how a great comic book animated movie should be done. I loved it, though I do wish there was more of Batman/Bruce’s thoughts put into the movie and I think if you have someone with as distinctive and recognizable a voice as Cranston, Batman should have been voiced by a bigger star, obviously the dream would be Bale but I know that will never happen.

I give this an 8/10 and a strong recommendation. Any fan of Batman, Frank Miller or both will be happy, I sure was. Next post another movie review (I do love ‘em! Smile) until next time I am as always…

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Blog tour for “The Newfoundland Vampire” starts 1/4! :)

NewfoundlandVampire Button 300 x 225

Upcoming Blog Tour Schedule

My first official blog tour! Better late than never 🙂 As you can see it starts tomorrow. I hope you will check in at a few stops. I will be commenting at every stop and reading comments left. If you’re interested in doing one yourself I would highly recommend Roxanne at Betwitching Blog tours Vampire bat.

Here it is for your reading pleasure:

January 4 

Fang-tastic Books

www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot. com

January 4 review

Books, Books, and More Books

http://dream-reader- dreamer2229.blogspot.com/

January 5

Reginamayross’s Blog

http://reginamayross.com

January 6

Pure Textuality

http://puretextuality.com

January 7 Interview

Roxanne’s Realm

www.roxannesrealm.blogspot.com

January 9

Victoria Danann

http://victoriadanann.me

January 10

Offbeat Vagabond

http://offbeatvagabond. blogspot.com/

January 11 Interview and review

Crazy Four Books

http://www.crazyfourbooks. blogspot.com

January 14 promo

A Bibliophiles Thoughts on Books

http:// bibliophilesthoughtsonbooks. blogspot.com/

January 15

Beauty in Ruins – Speculative and Imaginative Fiction

http://beauty-in-ruins. blogspot.com/

January 16 Review

Michelle’s Paranormal Vault of Books

http:// concisebookreviewsbymichelle. blogspot.com/

January 16 Interview

Cloey’s Book Reviews and Other Stuff

Cloeyk.blogspot.com

January 18 

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

http://www.creativelygreen.blogspot.ca/2013/01/guest-blog-newfoundland-vampire-by.html

Have a happy Friday and a great weekend everyone! Smile Until next time, I am as always…

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Movie Review: The Hobbit

Details from IMDB:

TheHobbit

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

169 min  -  Adventure | Fantasy  -   14 December 2012 (Canada)

Ratings: 8.4/10 from 147,800 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 823 user | 373 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on a "unexpected journey" to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim a their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.

Director:

Peter Jackson

Writers:

Fran Walsh (screenplay), Philippa Boyens (screenplay), and 3 more credits »

Stars:

Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage | See full cast and crew

Initial Thoughts:

Okay obviously I waited all of last year to see this movie, I am a huge fan of the book and a big J.R.R. Tolkien fan in general. So while I didn’t see this opening night I did pay almost $65 for my wife and I so see this in Imax (with snacks of course Smile).

Main Points:

Peter Jackson does it again Open-mouthed smile. I dearly loved the Lord of the Rings movies (with the Fellowship and Return of the King being the best of the two). This movie is not only extremely faithful to the book, it also brings in much more of the world as he brings in stories from the appendices of the Hobbit, parts of Unfinished Tales and even The Silmarillion (as far I know).

This gives the movie a lot more depth and brings to light stories I wasn’t aware of (I’ll admit to not having read those other two books).

The acting is top notch all around, especially shinning is Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman (Gandalf and Bilbo respectively). The special effects are amazing, a wonderful soundtrack and of course a great story. What else could you ask for in a movie? Hot smile

SPOILER ALERT!

Again this is silly but I suppose I’m a creature of habit. Perhaps you didn’t know that Frodo (Elijah Wood) does make a small appearance as does Elrond, Gladariel, Saruman and a younger Bilbo played once again Ian Holm. The movie ends with a cave full of gold and a dragon waking from a long slumber.

Final Thoughts:

I can’t say the movie is perfect but for me it was damn close. You can drawn into the movie, swept up with the emotions of the characters and the majesty of the world. For me that is a sign of a great movie.

The only negative thing I can say is that there a lot of stuff with the goblins and just for a few minutes it felt a little dragged out. Overall though I give this movie 9/10 and a very big recommendation Thumbs up. This movie has violence, some blood and scenes that would be scary for small children. So if you have children please bear this in mind. Also if you’re a Star Trek fan you owe it to yourself to see in in Imax to see the preview for the new movie, this looks amazing! Vampire bat I’m going to do my best to see this again in the Higher Frame Rate I’ve heard so much about. Until next time (and it will be another movie review) I am as always…

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2012: My Year in Review (and FREE STUFF! :)

Hi Everyone Smile Well it’s the that time of year, to look back at the year past and forward to the future. Don’t worry this won’t be a long, philosophical musing on all the world events of 2012 and what we could do better, rather just some highlights from my life along with some picture (and something FREE at the end! Open-mouthed smile).

January:

Aside from doing some serious editing on my first novel (The Newfoundland Vampire of course!). This happened:

Yes that’s real. My wife’s old Santa Fe caught on fire one morning! (It had just been started). Way too much excitement for 5:45am let me tell you!. Luckily no one was hurt and since we live in the woods there was no damage to our house or any other property. I don’t remember the mechanical reason for it happening but obviously car was toast.

February:

Nothing of interest, I was busy editing my book (did I mention my editor Patricia Morrison at Penumbra? She is excellent and has a lot of patience. I’ll admit I can be a nuisance sometimes). I learned some valuable lessons about dialogue, plot structure and most importantly not getting personally invested in a story to the point that I was irrational about changing it, live and learn Thinking smile.

March:

Early in the month (and for all the rest of it) we went to my favourite vacation spot, sunny Florida! There were tons of pics so I’ll just share a couple of my favourites.

A convertible in Florida? All kinds of awesome! Hot smile

In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Geek and a big kid at heart. Also, who doesn’t love Spidey? Smile

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One of my favourite places in the world. Ernest Hemmingway’s house in Key West, Florida. The descendants of his cats (they have 6 toes on every paw) are still there.

April:

My book! After months of editing, 8 months of writing and about a year to find a publisher it finally came out Smile Obviously I was ecstatic and I tried my best to sell and promote it.

That was my appearance in the Evening Telegram. Thanks again to Tara Bradbury for doing a full page article on me, it was very much appreciated! Smile

Photo: My Mom also came down to see me and Joanne Pearcey took a picture :) Thanks to everyone who bought a copy! (and to Lisa M. Daly who also came downstairs to see me :-)

My Mom and I at Sci-Fi on the Rock, this was the first time I sold my book it public. Had a blast Smile

May-June-July-August:

I had a busy summer, here are some highlights.

Photo: The third annual Geek Fest is about to start. Big Red (and me) are ready, you? Have a great weekend all (and just enjoy the pic if you have no idea what I'm talking about)

Photo: Hi all :) Just wanted to let people in NL know (and in the St. John's area in particular) that my book is available at Costco. Here's proof! Have a great night everyone :-)
www.charlesokeefe.com

September-October-November

Summer came to an end but I kept up with my promotional and selling activities. Along with some more good times Smile

This was at another excellent convention, Atlanti-Con, held in Corner Brook, Newfoundland the end of the September Smile.

Several times this year I was lucky enough to work with a bunch of great people on Star Trek: Reliant, a fan-made (not for profit) Star Trek series filmed locally here in Newfoundland. Always a great time Smile

December:

While I was very busy at work, for most of the month I did have a great Christmas and just last night an excellent New Year’s Eve Smile.

 

SGMPic

This was my last chance to sell my book in person for the year. An excellent local market ran by a friend Laurie Legrow called “Some Good Market”.

Photo: Merry Christmas everyone :) listening to "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues, of my favourite Xmas songs before we go out visiting :-) happy holidays all!

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There were lots more fireworks, I need a better camera I find it extremely hard to get a good picture of them.

So you’ve made it to the end, I had a great year and as promised here’s the freebie, my book! For the rest of today it’s FREE on Amazon Kindle. If you haven’t read it yet, today’s a great day to get it! Smile Oh and once you finish it you can look forward to book 2, which will be out hopefully sometime this summer. Have a great New Year everyone. Until next time I am as always…

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